Will You Be Our Valentine?

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Valentine’s Day is a pretty big deal at a Children’s Museum and here at CMNH, it’s no different.

We’re in the middle of hosting our first ever Alice in Wonderland Tea Party and it’s a huge hit! Don’t worry: there’s no calling for “off with their heads”! Instead, we’re enjoying tea, juice, decorating our own cookies and flowers, and listening to the Queen of Hearts read from Lewis Carroll’s 1865 classic.

The Three of Hearts (Meghan) & The Queen of Hearts (Sarah) preside over the CMNH Alice in Wonderland Tea Party

The Three of Hearts (Meghan) & The Queen of Hearts (Sarah) preside over the CMNH Alice in Wonderland Tea Party

While we celebrate this holiday full of love, friendship and fun, take a walk down memory lane with some of these special valentines from decades past. Do you remember any of them? Did you give or receive some of these when you were a child?

Dorothy & The Tin Man - The Wizard of Oz, 1930s

Dorothy & The Tin Man – The Wizard of Oz, 1930s

Superman, 1940s

Superman, 1940s

Sorcerer Mickey - Fantasia, 1950s

Sorcerer Mickey – Fantasia, 1950s

Ludwig Von Drake, 1950s

Ludwig Von Drake, 1950s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Batman, 1960s

Batman, 1960s

Huckleberry Hound, 1960s

Huckleberry Hound, 1960s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ronald McDonald, McDonald's - 1970s

Ronald McDonald, McDonald’s – 1970s

Miss Piggy & Animal - The Muppets, 1980s

Miss Piggy & Animal – The Muppets, 1980s

Donatello, Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 1980s

Donatello, Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 1980s

 

Wicket & R2-D2 - Return of the Jedi, 1980s

Wicket & R2-D2 – Return of the Jedi, 1980s

Tails & Sonic - Sonic the Hedgehog, 1990s

Tails & Sonic – Sonic the Hedgehog, 1990s

Michael Jordan - Chicago Bulls, 1990s

Michael Jordan – Chicago Bulls, 1990s

Raccoon Mario - Super Mario Brothers 3, 1990s

Raccoon Mario – Super Mario Brothers 3, 1990s

 

Donkey - Shrek, 2000s

Donkey – Shrek, 2000s

Wall-E, 2000s

Wall-E, 2000s

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CMNH Staff celebrating Valentine’s Day 2015

The picture above is of CMNH staff showing all the ways that your donation to the museum helps us achieve our mission and vision every day. If you want to be our Valentine this year, please take a look at our Start Strong Fund initiative and see how you can help today and every day in the lives of the children and families in our community.

Happy Valentine’s Day from your friends at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire!

 

 

Daydreaming on a Winter Day

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My snowy backyard in Kittery, Maine / February 2015

Looking past the snow piled outside my window on a cold February day, it is easy to daydream of warm breezes, family road trips and summer adventures that are many months in the future.

For the past three years, the Museum’s car raffle fundraiser has given people a reason to daydream the winter away, hoping to win a fun summer ride in the spring.

This year we’ve changed up the format a bit – our Joyride Raffle gives one lucky winner their choice of a new Nissan Quest S minivan, a Harley Davidson Glide motorcycle or $20,000 cash prize.* Our second prize winner will ride away on a 2015 Honda Ruckus scooter thanks to our friends at Nault’s Powersports.

CarRaffleParty_WholeCrowd_WebWith a maximum of 750 total tickets sold, the odds of winning are exponentially better than the Powerball (an estimated 1 out of 176 million)! We’ll be drawing the winning tickets at Port City Nissan on April 16th — and I can tell you from past drawings that it’s pretty exciting to be in a room with people anticipating that they will win a big prize!

If I won this year’s raffle, I would have difficulty deciding which prize to choose.

NissanQuestS_titaniumI can see myself driving the Nissan Quest to White Lake on a balmy summer day, with plenty of room for my kids, their friends, a picnic lunch and inflatable tubes.

2015 CVO Street GlideOr maybe the Harley Street Glide is the way to go. I don’t have a motorcycle license, but my husband does, and driving down coastal roads with the scent of salt air and the sun warming my back would be pure joy.

Then there is always the cash prize. I could be practical and invest my winnings for the kids’ college or retirement OR I could splurge on a once-in-a-lifetime family vacation to Europe, home improvements or a combination of these options.

2014HondaRuckusEven if I wasn’t the grand prize winner, the Honda Ruckus second prize would be a great way to zip around town for errands and fun trips to places where parking is at a premium. I would put a basket on the front of mine.

The great news is that one of these daydreams can come true for anyone who participates in the Joyride Raffle.

Now my question is: if you win the Joyride Raffle, which prize will you choose?

For more information or to purchase your own Joyride Raffle ticket(s), visit this link or call the Museum at 603-742-2002 during normal business hours. Proceeds benefit the Museum’s programs and exhibits.

* see website for full details, taxes not included

French Toast Teamwork

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The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire recently hosted the Mini-Iron Chef: Breakfast Challenge. The Mini-Iron Chef competition is part of our Foodworks Series in cooperation with Hannaford Supermarkets.

As in past years, this year’s Challenge saw parent and child teams compete together to make a delicious meal with a secret ingredient unknown to the participants until seconds before the food prep started! Joining past secret ingredients such as honey and vanilla yogurt, this year’s teams had to figure out how to best incorporate flax seed into their recipes.

Some of the teams were familiar with flax seed while others were not, but all rose to the challenge of altering their recipes with the healthy addition.

Many of our teams practiced their recipes at home leading up to the event while some teams wanted to capture the fun of trying it out for the first time during the challenge.

Our Judging Panel consisted of Heidi Kermin, a Registered Dietician with Hannaford Supermarkets and Victor Larose, an Assistant Store Manager of a Hannaford Supermarket. They were joined by yours truly, Zach Foote, of the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire.

I speak for all the judges when I say we were absolutely blown away by the creativity, quality, and deliciousness of each and every dish we tasted. The presentation of most of these dishes outshone many professional restaurants.

We look forward to the announcement of the next Mini-Iron Chef Challenge. No matter the challenge theme or secret ingredient, we know these family teams will all earn five stars!

Now take a look back at this year’s Mini-Iron Chef: Breakfast Challenge!

 

The Foodworks Series of programs take place at CMNH every other month. Please check our website and social media for updates about all future programming.

Children’s Museum of NH Alzheimer’s Cafe featured on NHPTV

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Screen shot 2015-02-04 at 2.50.18 PMThe Children’s Museum of New Hampshire’s Alzheimer’s Café was recently featured on New Hampshire Public Television’s new series, Changing Aging in the Granite State. The episode premiered on Thursday, January 15, 2015 and featured Judy and Woody Sponaugle of Rye, NH who attend the museum’s free, monthly Café.

AlzCafe_Oct2012_Group4CropThe Alzheimer’s Café at the museum started in 2011 and meets on the third Thursday of each month from 2–4pm. The Café is a supportive and welcoming place for people living with dementia and their care partners to spend an afternoon of conversation and socializing. Refreshments are provided and reservations are not required.

In 2012, the CAlzCafe_June2014_HatGroup_HiReshildren’s Museum of NH received the Leaders in Innovation award from the New England Museum Association for the Alzheimer’s Café program. The Museum is partnering with the Keene State College Nursing Department to research the benefits of attending an Alzheimer’s Café for caregivers and people living with dementia. We will be sharing more details on this as research continues.

The Changing Aging in the Granite State Alzheimer’s Café episode can be streamed online at http://www.nhptv.org/aging/

Paula with Alzheimer's Cafe attendees at a recent Alzheimer's Walk

Paula with Alzheimer’s Cafe attendees at a recent Alzheimer’s Walk

Collaborative Bike Rack Project

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Throughout 2014, the Dover Middle School Art Club collaborated with CMNH Artist-in-Residence Nathan Walker to create two Bike Racks for Henry Law Park in downtown Dover, NH. Made possible by the generous sponsorship of Kennebunk Savings, the bike rack design & completion process has been one of the most fulfilling and exciting projects that Children’s Museum has been involved in since moving to Dover in 2008.

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At the beginning of the year, the Art Club – led by Dover Middle School Art teachers Marie Robicheau &P1130908 Jo-Ann Gardella, met with Walker in his workshop in the lower level of CMNH. Before starting down the path of artistic collaboration, Walker wanted to show the students how he approached design. The students were able to see a large spectrum of Walker’s work in various stages of completion. Many of the sculptures viewed that day had P1130899one of Walker’s hallmarks: repurposed materials. From the Volkswagen Beetle hood that forms the back of the Giant Blue Crab in the front of CMNH to the various spiders, jellyfish and insects comprised of gears, hubcaps and Christmas Tree stands, the Art Club saw that their imagination was truly the P1130902limit in creating a bicycle rack for P1130898families visiting Henry Law Park. Walker also reinforced that the design process, where the eraser P1130896can sometimes be used just as much as the pencil, was equally as important as the building process.

The Art Club continued to meet under the guidance of Robicheau & Gardella while the students formed groups that would meet to discuss their ideas and draw up plans for their respective group’s vision for a bike rack. In addition to their design on paper, the groups were also tasked by Walker to create 3-D prototypes and models to better show how their bike rack design would work.

In April, Children’s Museum 0f New Hampshire President Jane Bard, Brendan Markey of Kennebunk Savings, and Walker met with Robicheau, Gardella and the assembled Dover Middle School Art Club as they prepared P1130918to pitch their completed ideas to the group.

Though the initial plan was to select one of the team’s ideas to make a single bike rack, Walker liked all of the ideas so much, that the choice was made that two racks would be created with each incorporating pieces of each group’s design ideas.

Three of the teams ideas would be incorporated into becoming the Steampunk Octopus Screenshot 2015-01-19 13.42.11Bike Rack, while two other teams would see their designs overlap to become the State of New Hampshire Bike Rack. After the Art Club members decided on which NH landmarks to include on the state themed rack, CMNH volunteer Barbara Albert got to work painting the finer details. Meanwhile, Nate began work on the foraging, welding, and color experimentation for the large steampunk cephalopod.

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In October, the Art Club returned to the Museum with their original prototypes to see the final product of their combined visions. Dover Mayor Karen Weston joined Bard, Walker, the Art Club and their family and friends for the grand unveiling of the first bike rack, Steampunk Octopus, in upper Henry Law Park near the entrance of the museum.

 

This spring, the New Hampshire Bike Rack will be unveiled in lower Henry Law Park near the entrance of the Dover Indoor Pool.IMAG2269

January in New Hampshire isn’t the best weather for families to ride their bikes, but we look forward to a few months from now when families visiting Henry Law Park will have two highly creative options for storing their bicycle while they visit the park, museum, stage, pool, river walk, picnic areas and playground.

We thank the incredibly imaginative and skilled members of the Dover Middle School Art Club, their teachers and mentors Marie Robicheau & Jo-Ann Gardella, the generous support of Kennebunk Savings – without which, this project would not have been possible – and, of course, Nate Walker, who took the inventive visions of the Club and made them a reality.

B-r-r-r-r-r-r! See you all - and your bikes - in a few more months!

B-r-r-r-r-r-r! See you all – and your bikes – in a few more months!

 

Make It or Break It Club – Now On Tuesdays!

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Museum Educator Jenaya has some news for all of you. The rumors are true! Make It or Break It Club, the weekly maker focused after school program at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, has moved to Tuesday afternoon.

Make It or Break It Club is geared toward children in 1st-7th Grade with different levels of projects available to create, deconstruct and explore each week.

Take it away, Jenaya!

Bringing Public Art to Henry Law Park

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Bryan Rutland, a local Dover artist, has created a new piece being displayed on the facade of the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire. Perspection, part of Driven to Abstraction - the current Gallery 6 installation – was originally one piece of abstract art that Rutland split into two distinctive pieces. As CMNH’s Director of Exhibits, I contacted him in November about creating a vibrant piece of abstract art that would bring color to Henry Law Park for those dark and dreary winter months.

“The way that I like to approach my painting is to have no preconception or final image in my mind,” Rutland shares.

“I want to create intuitively and I feel in working this way I can be true to myself and not over think the process. I like to take a more natural approach,” he admits. “I start the creation process with a color palette in mind and just start throwing colors around and whatever ‘feels right’ at the time. I like to just let the painting work itself out and lead me in the direction it wants to go in.”

Bryan joins over 15 other artists in showing their version of abstract art. For many museum families and visitors, this is their first exposure to any kind of abstract art. As in any form of art, each artist approaches their process differently. Rutland looks to his natural surroundings for inspiration.

The abstract process for me is more of a therapeutic and physical exercise. I allow things to just happen the way they do in nature,” he says.

“Just like a stream will meander and create its own path over time I allow my paintings to do the same. I tend to be more of an instrument in the creation of the work as opposed to the overall creator. I really feel the painting is already there I just need to let go and let it be what it was meant to be. I think we need to create things that are true and honest to ourselves, with all of our strengths and weaknesses.”

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Born in Paterson, NJ in 1974, Rutland has always believed in doing what you love. He moved around a lot in his early years and he often looked towards his creative mind to keep him company. He tried to absorb any and all information he could sink his teeth, and by extension his creativity, into. He is a true admirer of art in all its forms and has worked in many different mediums.

He has designed for fashion labels like L.A. based Eisbar and Kangol NYC. He has also worked with L.A. bands The Nikhil Kohrula Band, The Distants and Apes of the New Millennium, as well as NYC based rap artist Little Vic and Orena Records. Rutland’s paintings have been exhibited in galleries and venues in Los Angeles, and he has had mural work shown on walls and ceilings in New York City. Bryan currently operates Rutland Studios in downtown Dover creating artwork in all different mediums.

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If you don’t have a chance to view Rutland’s Perspection by day, we’ve set up a colored lighting system to make it viewable in the evening as well.

Driven to Abstraction is currently up and running through the end of February. Driven to Abstraction has given the museum a chance to show some non-representational work that children and adults will find really interesting. Abstract art challenges people to look even deeper at the artwork to try and solve or decode the puzzles in the artwork.

abstractionIn abstract art, there are no wrong answers because it’s all about the unique things each person sees, feels, and thinks about each piece.

All CMNH Gallery 6 shows are free to view for Adults. Simply request a Gallery 6 Visitor Pass at the Front Desk of the museum.

Perspection is merely the latest piece of public art commissioned by CMNH. Last winter, we installed Erebos on the front of our building, which was a collaborative effort between myself and our Gallery 6 Coordinator Tess Feltes.

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During the day, Erebos – named for the Greek God of Darkness and Shadow – would create shadows on the building as the sun moved across the sky, and at night Erebos was lit up by color changing LED lights to create an ever-changing display of light and shadows.

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In the spring, we installed a recycled hanging garden created by cutting, gluing and painting plastic bottles.

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This was our most time consuming project because each flower or vine was individually cut and painted. Amy Tilton and Eryn True, two of our 2014 exhibit interns, were invaluable in helping us to complete this project.

Hi Mom, Susan Perrine

Hi Mom, Susan Perrine

During the summer, our Gallery 6 Enchanting Gardens exhibit extended out into Henry Law Park and included a handful of sculptures sprinkled throughout the park.

There were nests, figurative sculptures, a tree house, a metal Pterosaur and individual pieces made of both plants and clothing.

Hammer Headed Pterosaurus, Jill Nooney

How Do You Spell Your Name? - Sarah Haskell

How Do You Spell Your Name? – Sarah Haskell

We hope you’ll have a chance to see our latest public art, Bryan Rutland’s Perspection, in person before visiting the rest of Gallery 6 to fully appreciate all the incredible and varied pieces of abstract art in our Driven to Abstraction installation.

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Celebrating the Highlights of Our 30th Year

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EOW_GreenScreen_MomAndSonAt the end of each year, it’s human nature to reminisce over the events and milestones of the past 12 months. Sometimes we are so busy going about daily life that until we take a moment to reflect, we don’t really digest the moments that matter.

Here are some highlights of 2014 at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire:

  • Adopting a newly refreshed five-year Strategic Plan and charting our course for a strong future.
  • Extending the Museum beyond our doors by bringing art to the park and our building’s façade. Who knew that recycled plastic bottles could be so beautiful?
  • Starting a new EBT/SNAP admission program to extend our commitment to serving all families, leading the way before a national model was introduced for Children’s Museums around the country.
  • Unveiling a new Museum logo and brand that celebrates open-ended creativity and experimentation.
  • 7 year old Sean Violette and his paper airplane launcherHosting the 2nd annual Dover Mini Maker Faire, bigger and better than ever with 60 makers and over 1,600 attendees!
  • YellowSub_BaileyAtControlsCelebrating the end of our 30th year by re-launching our iconic Yellow Sub exhibit with exciting new features like a drivable deep-sea environment and interactive swimming fish. (And for adults, an evening of delicious food and live music at our September Shebang!)
  • Bike Rack ProjectCollaborating with Dover Middle School Art Club students and our Artist in Residence Nate Walker to design new place-based bike racks for Henry Law Park right outside our doors. The Blue Crab welcomed his new friend – Steampunk Octopus!
  • Monet4A2And most importantly, all of us at the Children’s Museum remember the one constant that hasn’t changed over the past 30 years: the joy, wonder and pure delight that children bring to their Museum experience every single day.

We can’t wait for 2015 and look forward to sharing with you all the wonderful things the new year will bring!

Healthy Brain Development Helps Kids Start Strong!

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CochecoGundalow_MoniqueLeo1Statistics from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University show that in the first few years of a child’s life, 700 to 1,000 new neural connections are formed in the brain every second! At the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, our goal is to create an experience-rich environment for children, giving them the opportunity to start strong. The impact of early experiences on brain development is critical because 85% of the architecture of a child’s brain is developed before age 5.

A vital aspect of early childhood development is the presence of “serve-and-volley” relationships – or back-and-forth communication between children and adults. These interactions happen when adults respond to children’s questions, pose their own questions, identify items that a child is pointing at and engagEWO_Tinkering_SonFather01e in back and forth conversation, even when the child’s “conversation” is smiling, pointing, reaching or babbling.

The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is designed to encourage serve-and-volley exchanges. Sharing, playing or simply being exposed to new materials and activities through our programs and exhibits all help nurture healthy brain development.

KimberlitaYAbuela_03This year, as you designate your charitable giving, please consider supporting the Museum’s Start Strong Fund, enabling us to continue building healthy brains right from the start.

Giving the Gift of Great Memories

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For years my family has gotten accustomed to my gift-giving strategy. Sure, you may get something from me that you want (like a certain brick building toy) or something you need (like socks and pajamas), but thrown into the mix has always been the “experience gift.”

No one in my close circle can avoid these treasures – from tickets to a concert, theatre, attraction or sporting event, to a Museum membership, day of skiing, weekend of camping or day-trip adventure with several destinations, always including a stop for food, of course.

I always thought I was being sly, giving gifts that brought my family together for shared experiences, creating new memories. Is it still considered “giving” when what you receive back is just as valuable as the gift you give?

My sons, age 2 and 6, at the Boston's Children's Museum.

My sons, age 2 and 6, at the Boston’s Children’s Museum.

I recently asked my boys, ages 12 and 16, what their favorite gifts were from years’ past. I was surprised how few toys they could name or really remember, especially given how excited they were about them at the time.

But my teenager did remember the awe of sitting in the front row to see his first live theatre performance at age 4, and how much fun he had exploring the Museum in this picture at age 6. And my 12-year-old remembers the thrill of night skiing with a glow stick strapped to his jacket and learning how to start a campfire by a lake.

Last year's experience giftLast yeLast year's experience giftar’s experience gifts: Tickets to see the Blue Man Group and pizza dinner in Boston’s North End for my oldest (left), and and a ropes course adventure for my youngest (right).

As my children get older, I may not always be the person chosen to enjoy these experiences with them. You can be sure that my experience gifts will keep coming nonetheless.

This year, consider giving your friends and family the gift of a year-long membership to the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire or our top-level Clubhouse Membership that includes free and reduced-priced admission at 400+ museums around the country.

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